General News

Triple growth forecast upgrade unusual says BCC

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said that its move to upgrade UK economic growth forecasts for each of the next three years is an unusual one.

Growth for 2013 is forecast to be 0.9%, with 1.9% and 2.4% expected in 2014 and 2015, up from 0.6%, 1.7% and 2.2% respectively for the three years.

Chief Economic for the BCC, David Kern, said of the industry body’s forecasts: “I can’t remember any time recently where we upgraded all three years.”

Do small businesses know how to achieve growth?

Small businesses are increasingly unclear as to how to implement effective growth strategies in an uncertain economic phase, a new report has revealed.

Close to 50% of businesses surveyed admitted that knowing how to achieve growth was a big challenge. 30% were also having difficulty defining a clear growth strategy.

Simon Littlewood, director at Growth Accelerator, said: "Knowing the best way to achieve growth is a sizeable challenge and an added pressure in changeable economic times".

Business growth in pipeline for many UK SMEs

Approximately one in five small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are planning to expand in the near future, according to a new survey by Direct Line for Business.

The government’s decision to introduce an employer allowance of £2,000 per annum towards National Insurance Contributions has reduced cost burdens on SMEs, which is giving them renewed impetus to plan for growth.

Oil price fixing investigations welcomed

European Commission investigations into alleged price fixing by a number of oil giants have been welcomed by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Fair Fuel UK.

Following raids into the offices of the oil companies in questions, there are claims that prices have been fixed for more than a decade. European Commission officials said its investigators made the "unannounced inspections" on Tuesday amid claims that collusion between companies may have occurred in a bid to distort prices.

Widespread culture of late payments revealed

European businesses saw almost £300 billion of late payments last year as late payment culture has been shown to be a continent-wide issue afflicting small businesses and SMEs, according to new research.

This was a 7% rise on the previous year’s figures, the survey by Swedish credit management services group Intrum Justitia showed.

The survey asked almost 10,000 companies across 29 different countries about how late payments have affected them, with companies said to be most at risk from late payments in Greece, Cyprus, Hungary and Portugal.